Do you treat racing systems in an ad hoc manner? Find a selection method (perhaps from PPM), think 'now that seems OK', and decide to give it try on the following Saturday? The new system fails to produce a profit in the first week, so you give it away. Probably forever?

That is not fair to the system or yourself. Next week that same system may have won you hundreds of dollars. This is especially so with trifectas.

I've explained in previous articles how difficult it is to achieve a high trifecta strike-rate without a considerable outlay.

To win with trifectas takes perseverance. They are not easy to select and by far the most difficult aspect is to settle on an appropriate and affordable investment strategy.

I was going to say you need a lot of luck ... but I really believe it has more to do with the method of selection and the way you put your trifecta investments together. Then there's the nerve and confidence required, mentally and financially, to keep going in the face of the inevitable and sometimes horrendous run of outs and/or small dividends.

How do you know if a large dividend (say over $1000 for 50c) is just around the corner if you test a selection method for only a week or two? How do you know if a different investment strategy is all that's required to turn you from a loser into a winner?

The fact is: you can win backing trifectas only if you are willing to spend time to develop and test your theories. You should trial selection and betting methods for at least six months. Select one or two trifecta ideas that take your fancy. For six months, record everything you can about each and every suitable race.

That is: type of race, distance, number of runners, venue, jockeys, trainers, barriers, placegetters, dividends, etc., - whatever you consider is relevant. Retain all your form guides and notes for the entire period and devote as many hours as possible to go over and over your approach.

Armed with comprehensive longterm results you can determine whether certain trifecta combinations will work on your selection systems. Could you have won with a simple $3 box, or a 2x3x6 combination, or perhaps a 2x5x9? How would a box 5 have gone? Could you have won in the long term if you had been able to outlay $54 a race on a 3x7x9 trifecta combination?

With a 3x7x8 you will possibly pick up around 40 per cent of trifecta divvies, but whether you are able to win overall is another matter. If you have the base data, there are so many investment combinations and ideas you can test.

Set yourself the goal of checking and maintaining records of maybe 20 different trifecta combinations every week, from the small $3 box up to maybe a 4x9x9 combination at $112 (for 50c units). You will gain an enormous amount of trifecta knowledge from undertaking such an exercise.

I'll now outline a trifecta method you may like to put under the microscope over the coming months. My criteria will get you started But, like most rules, none are set in concrete. All can be modified.

For instance, you may consider, that Rule 5 should come before Rule 4. Maybe it should, so just change it. Test your own theories. Keep long-term records because when you start to use real money there is no chance to chop and change your selections to suit the occasion.

I have, in this system, continued to apply some interesting statistics that were in PPM recently, in that 50 per cent of the winners at the gallops come from those horses which race in the first 4 positions from barrier rise to the home turn (400m point). A further 42 per cent of winners are between 5th and 8th on the turn.

Couple this with the knowledge that most winners are at the shorter end of the betting market, add a class factor and perhaps we are on to something which will give us that advantage we need to become consistent winners!

I've recorded the results of the approach for a few weeks and they show a lot of promise. Even a small $3 box on the top 3 selections has been showing close to 200 per cent profit.


  1. You will need the Form At A Glance liftout from the Sportsman and the latest possible pre-post market from the daily papers. Operate only on fields of nine or more runners.
  2. List all the runners which race 'On The Pace'. To determine this, you can either go through each runner's recent form to assess their normal patterns of racing (which I prefer to do) or use the Speed And Fitness section of the Sportsman liftout and highlight every runner listed as 'likes to lead' or 'races handy'.
  3. Using the pre-post betting market, make a note of the two shortest-priced 'On Pace' runners, ignoring any runner over 15 / 1. If equal prices create a problem, use the runner with the inside barrier.
  4. Now back to your Sportsman tables to locate the 'Down In Class' runners. Take the two shortest priced from the 'Down In Class' runners (up to 15/1 only) in the pre-post market. Place these after the two horses you have selected in Rule 3. If there are no 'Down In Class' runners, then move to Rule 5.
  5. The next selection is the first horse in the pre-post betting market not selected in Rules 3 and 4.
  6. Now return to the 'On Pace' runners and place the remainder of these in pre-post betting market order (up to 25/1 only) immediately after your previous selections.
  7. Once you have exhausted the runners in Rule 6, list the remaining runners in pre-post betting market order.

In summary:

(a) Two shortest-priced 'on pace' runners, up to 15 / 1, from the prepost market.

(b) Two shortest-priced 'Down in Class' runners, up to 15 / 1, from the pre-post market.

(c) Next shortest-priced runner from the pre-post market.

(d) Remainder of the 'On Pace' runners, up to 25 / 1, from the prepost market.

(e) Remainder of the runners from the pre-post market.

NOTE 1: In instances where horses are at equal prices, take the lowest barrier number.

NOTE 2: I suggest you stick with Saturday meetings. There are generally better quality races leading to a more accurate betting market.

Now you have to determine an investment strategy. There are many options. Using 50c units, here are some: 3x7x8 ($54), 3x4x9 ($31.50), 2x5xlO ($32), 3x4x8 ($27), 3x4x6 ($18), 3x3x7 ($15), 2x4x7 ($15), 2x3x8 ($12), 2x3x6 ($8). These are just a few of the combinations available to you.

As usual, I tend to focus on the additional horses in third position, aiming to secure a bigger divvie if a roughie fills 3rd place, as they often do.

On a recent Sunday, I ran the above rules across all 32 races in four States. To assess every race took less than three hours (about 5 to 6 minutes per race). So it won't be a big job with selected fields (for example, you may decide to concentrate on 3yo's and over, particular-size fields, races run at certain distances, the last four races on the programme, etc.).

On this Sunday, it happened that 29 out of the 32 first selections won or were placed. Saturday results are also very promising. Nearly every one of the 20 trifecta combinations for which I keep a record have an excellent ratio of profit to turnover. Many combinations have won every week ... SO FAR!

However, like other punters, I have been down this path before. Just when you think you have found the key to success, you try the real hard-earned stuff and, sure as eggs, you strike the first losing week in a long time.

It tests your nerve and your confidence. This time I am going to absolutely take my own advice. I'll continue to maintain detailed records of the above plan for at least six months.

I should go through the winter as well! Only then will I know if the current early results can be converted into a long-term investment proposition.

FOOTNOTE: In the first four weeks of testing, the combinations 3x6x8, 3x7x8 and 4x6x8 have been showing the best returns, each winning close to $4000.

Barry Meyer is a South Australian reader who runs a souvenir shop at Victor Harbour. He is now a regular PPM contributor.

By Barry Meyer